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January 22, 2017 / 24 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘report’

Report: Whole Arab Villages in Judea and Samaria Stand Empty as Residents Flee to US

Saturday, December 17th, 2016

Media reports about the Arab struggle to retrieve the lands of Amona has been presented by politicians and the media as part of an Arab tradition of loyalty to their land.

Indeed, one of the Arab claimants against the Amona community has been quoted as saying, “If your child dies, you can make another one in his place, but land that you sold cannot be replaced.”

And yet, a report in Friday’s Makor Rishon suggests reality on the ground in Judea and Samaria reflects a somewhat different set of values. Local Arabs may not be willing to sell their land, but many of them don’t live on said land either, preferring instead to emigrate to the US.

According to reporter Assaf Gibor, Route 60, which runs from Afula, on Israel’s side of the “green line” through Jenin, near Shechem, through Ofra and outside Ramallah to Jerusalem and then through Gush Etzion, past Hebron all the way to Be’er Sheva, features ghost villages on either side of the highway. The Jewish settlers of Ofra and Amona have been wondering what has happened to neighboring Arab villages such as Silwad, three miles from the main road and about 8 miles north-east of Ramallah. A visitor happening inside the village can see numerous, luxurious villas, that are deserted.

Gibor, who describes those empty homes as “white elephants,” met in Silwad a man in his 79s named Salah, who sat with him over a cup of coffee and revealed that he’s been living in Puerto Rico for 52 years. Having left in 1964, before the Israeli liberation of 1967, Salah got his BA in Puerto Rico and MA in Tennessee, and now he is retired and living off his rental property on the island. His children were born in the US, one is a lawyer, the other a pharmacist, both Harvard graduates. Sadly, they’ve only visited the old country once – but both speak Arabic.

Hamza Awada, 21, who lives with his parents in Arizona, met Gibor in Dir Dibwan, not far from Silwad. He is visiting to conclude a two-year wife search. It’s an arranged marriage, and after the wedding the happy couple will move to America. Hamza has lived in New York City and in Arizona, as well as in Jordan. “Life here in the village is quaint, but it’s not for me.”

Hamza describes himself as a Palestinian, not as an American, and he likes the sense of community in the village his parents had left in their youth. He’d even like to come back some day, maybe. But “life here is difficult,” he says. “It’s hard to find work, make a living and earn enough to support the lifestyle I’m used to abroad.” He plans to maintain the same ties to the old place his parents have kept: visit every few years. He speaks Arabic with his parents at home, but at school and elsewhere outside the home it’s all English.

According to Gibor, between 80 and 90 percent of Dir Dibwan’s residents have an American citizenship. One local resident, Muhammad Manasra, who splits his life between the village and California, estimates the population in the two neighboring villages at 16,000, most of them living abroad.

One of the most common methods used to obtain a US Visa is marrying an American citizen.

In many cases, Arab wives who discover the US lifestyle after having grown up in poverty in Judea and Samaria, refuse to go back. “My brother married a woman from the nearby village of Beitin,” Manasra relates. “There are many Palestinian-Americans there, too. He brought her to the US, arranged for a visa, and the minute she landed there her eyes opened, like she discovered a new world. He would work and she moseyed through the malls and spend money. They had two children, and when the elder was five, my brother wanted his wife and both children to go back to the village so the children learn Arabic and become familiar with Palestinian culture. His wife refused. It ended very badly. They divorced and today both live in the US separately. My brother’s house is sealed,” he says and points at the deserted villa.

Arab immigration from Judea and Samaria has been going on for decades. Official Palestinian Authority figures suggest there are three million Arabs living there. In reality, the figures are lighter by at least one million, according to many experts. Since 1997, Israel is no longer operating the census there, and the PA count does not abide by international norms, whereby a person who has been absent for a year or more from his country is no longer counted. Demographers Yaakov Feitelson and Yoram Ettinger suggest the figure of 1.8 million Arabs in Judea and Samaria, as opposed to the PA claim of 2.9 million.

JNi.Media

Report: 10% of Israeli Public Servants Are Olim

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

The Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs revealed during Tuesday’s meeting that 10% of public servants in Israel and 12% of police officers are new immigrants. Committee Chairman MK Avraham Neguise (Likud) emphasized that “the main reason for the temporary decline in the number of immigrants in the last year is the issue of employment. Therefore, bureaucracy must be removed, procedures should be simplified, and driving licenses from the country of origin should be recognized. The public service should lead this national mission.”

Neguise praised the first appointment of Ethiopian Israeli female judges and a judge who has immigrated from the Commonwealth of Independent States, but warned of the vast amount of new immigrants who are qualified for various occupations and are employed in maintenance and cleaning jobs.

According to Ron Tzur of the Civil Service Commission, “The figures show the opposite; that the doors of the civil service are actually open to immigrants, and every barrier which we have recognized in the past, was removed and relieved.”

Tzur continued and said, “35% of workers in the country are [employed within] the health system, and therefore it is impossible to ignore the big portion of immigrants in such a big part of the system.” He emphasized that 7,496 out of some 75,000 workers in Israel have made Aliyah in the last decade (10%), and 4,191 in the last five years.

MK Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beitenu), who initiated the discussion, said that wherever there is a lack of engineers, doctors and nurses in the work market – that is where immigrants are absorbed. But in many cases the immigrants struggle to be accepted to work, mainly in senior positions, although a long time has passed since their immigration, he added.

Esther Blum, a representative of an organization for absorbing French immigrants, said that, “New immigrants do not have a chance of being absorbed in Israel, even when they have qualifications from abroad. This is a loss for the State of Israel, because we are speaking of people who hold senior positions in their country of origin.”

Superintendent Rachel Siman Tov, deputy head of Israel Police’s recruiting department, said 12% of police officers – 3,262 people – are new immigrants. According to her, 166 Ethiopian Israelis have been recruited to the police force over the past two years, and today 613 police officers are Ethiopian.

Hagit Feldman, head of the Human Resources Department at the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigration Absorption, said that out of 500 workers in the office, 138 have made Aliyah in the last decade, but most of the workers have made Aliyah 15 years ago or more.

JNi.Media

Report: President Trump to Expose ‘Indefensible’ Iran Deal Documents

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

Future senior Trump administration officials are discussing which unseen documents about the 2015 Iran nuclear deal they will make public after the inauguration, The Daily Beast reported Monday. The report cites chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Bob Corker, possibly President Trump’s pick for secretary of state, who said, “My guess is that they will be very forthcoming. […] They’ll be more than desirous in ensuring that’s the case.”

The report also cites Congressman Peter Roskam (R-Il), who said, “The American people know the Iran deal is bad. I can tell you it’s even worse than most people think. The Obama Administration has long known its position is indefensible, so they’ve chosen to hide unclassified documents from the public.”

In March 2015, Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark) sent a letter, signed by 46 out of 53 Republicans in the Senate then, to Iran’s leaders, stating that any deal between Obama and the Iranian leadership would amount to only an “executive agreement” that could be undone by Congress or a future president. “The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time,” Cotton warned.

In November 2016, Cotton told Bloomberg, “In January, a President Trump and a Republican Congress will begin a new policy of resolve toward Iran’s ayatollahs.” Of course, by now the US has eliminated the sanctions against Iran, paid the Islamic Republic in cash to settle claims regarding an arms sale to the Shah, and unfroze billions in Iranian bank holdings. As Bloomberg put it, “at this point, a clear statement from the US that it was abandoning the nuclear agreement would only affect Iran’s obligations, such as international monitoring of its nuclear program and temporary limits on its centrifuge production and stockpile of nuclear fuel.”

In July 2016 the Obama Administration, following a law mandating a congressional review of the nuclear deal, used a clever trick in order to conceal unclassified documents by submitting them together with a single classified item – making the publicizing of any of this information illegal. Republican staffers are itching to make these unclassified documents public as soon as there’s a new sheriff in town.

According to The Daily Beast, one such document, “Elements of Iran’s R&D Plan,” is based on the “safeguards confidential plan [between] Iran and the IAEA,” describing how Iran’s research and development on its nuclear program, including on its centrifuges, could progress over time, despite the deal.

According to multiple US media reports, the documents the Trump team are weighing for publication come in three groups. The first group includes 17 unclassified annexes, appendices, and related agreements handed to Congress in July 2015 under the the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, a.k.a. Corker-Cardin. These feature letters from Kerry assuring US business institutionsthey could trade and deal with Iran, which may indicate the deal was never sustainable but for those US urgings; and information regarding the precise restrictions on Iran’s centrifuge development, which Iran has reportedly violated several times.

The second group includes documents describing the transfer of $1.7 billion cash to Iran, the release of 21 Iranian operatives, the Iranians’ leveraging of American hostages, and the lifting of international sanctions stemming from Iran’s ballistic missile development, which were described in August by the Wall Street Journal. The State Department denied much of the above, warning that revealing the identity of banks involved in the cash transfer would hinder future deals.

The third group are documents from the Joint Commission overseeing the implementation of the deal, which secretly permit Iran to violate its terms. The very existence of these exemptions proves the deal – from its inception – depended on the US turning a blind eye on its violations.

David Israel

Report: Mall Operator Won’t Hire Bedouin Security Guards

Monday, December 5th, 2016

The management of Azrieli Malls, which operates 17 large-scale shopping malls across Israel, has decided not to hire Bedouin security guards at its Beer Sheva mall, Israel Radio reported Monday morning. The decision was made in response to a demand from the Israeli importer of Apple which operates the iStore chain.

The decision to stop hiring Bedouins at the Beer Sheva mall followed a break in at the local iStore. A Bedouin security guard who alerted management about the plans for the break in hours before it actually took place was suspended from his job suddenly and without an explanation.

The guard served three years as an IDF scout.

Both iStore and the Azrieli Hanegev Mall security company have so far refused comment.

David Israel

Report: Leftwing Reporter Tried to Derail Religious Brigade Commander with False Accusations

Sunday, December 4th, 2016

Brig. Gen. Ofer Winter, former commander of the Givati infantry brigade and currently Chief of Staff of Central Command, and one of the most prominent IDF Orthodox senior officers, was the target of a political assassination attempt by Israel’s Channel 10 reporter Raviv Drucker, according to Winter’s attorney Oded Savorai, who spoke to Army Radio Sunday.

Savorai accused Drucker – dubbed by Ynet “the thorn in Netanyahu’s side” over a series of insulting and embarrassing reports about the PM and his wife Sara – of trying to incriminate Brig. Gen. Ofer in a case involving the shooting death of an innocent Arab boy.

The entrapment attempt took place four years ago, according to Savorai, when Winter was commander of the IDF Northern Division, and a soldier carrying a concealed recording device came to his office and tried to get the commander to admit having ordered him to shoot the boy.

According to Savorai, the soldier told Winter, “I can’t sleep well nights, it comes back to me in my dreams.” Apparently, “he expected that Ofer would admit something that had never happened, or, more plausibly, that Ofer would ask him to whitewash the story, but Ofer did the opposite.”

Instead of trying to hide anything, the commander offered the soldier help and psychological care. “Ofer’s office manager immediately recognized something suspicious about the man who had just entered to see him, and dug into his smartphone which he had to leave behind,” Savorai related, suggesting she discovered suspicious signs showing he was deceitful.

Drucker posted a response in his Facebook page essentially confirming the story, but adding that the soldier in question had approached his program staff with complaints about Winter murdering the Arab child. Drucker insists that it was the soldier who insisted on meeting up with Winter to try and record him confessing to a crime that never happened.

Drucker accused Brig. Gen. Winter of sending his surrogate out to besmirch the reporter’s good name in advance of an Exposé on Winter being prepared by Drucker.

In July 2014, as commander of Givati in Operation Protective Edge, Winter caused a public debate on the place of the Jewish religion in he IDF when he issued a message to his troops that recalled biblical calls of historic Jewish commanders to their soldiers: “History has selected us to be at the forefront of the fight against the terrorist Gazan enemy, who curses and swears and blasphemes against the God of Israel […] I raise my eyes to heaven and recite with you, Sh’ma Israel, Hashem Elokeinu, Hashem Echad.”

“God, the Lord of Israel, please send us success in our path,” Winter continued, “for we are going to fight for Your nation Israel against the blaspheming enemy.”

Under Winter’s command, the Givati Brigade exposed dozens of terror tunnels and other Hamas infrastructure.

JNi.Media

Report: IAF Attacked Weapons Storehouse, Convoy in Syria

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

According to London-based Arab newspaper Rai al Youm, Israel attacked overnight Wednesday a weapons storage facility outside Damascus belonging to the Syrian army and a military convoy.

IAF planes attacked an armory of the Syrian army’s fourth division, and a convoy near the highway connecting Damascus and Beirut, Lebanon. The convoy was reportedly preparing to haul a large weapons load for Hezbollah. The attack consisted of two separate sorties.

According to Lebanese website el Nashra, the attack took place at 1:20 Wednesday morning, as four loud explosions were heard from the outskirts of Damascus. The armory, located near the highway, sustained major damages.

So far there has been no report of the Syrian army firing at the two IAF attacks. In September, President Assad’s army shot at Israeli planes flying over Quneitra, in southern Syria, near the Israeli Golan Heights border.

JNi.Media

Exclusive Report on Israeli-Syrian Border: Islamic State’s West Syrian Branch Attack on IDF

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

Israel was still busy battling wildfires across the country when the Islamic State’s west Syrian branch, Jaysh Khaled Ibn al-Walid (formerly known as the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade), engaged the Israeli Defense Forces in a battle on the Golan Heights for the first time.

At 8:30 a.m. Sunday, ISIS operatives opened fire at a Golani Brigade patrol of the IDF near Avnei Eitan on the southern Golan Heights in north-east Israel.

The IDF soldiers had crossed the border fence to conduct an “ambush operation” while remaining within Israeli territory when they were fired upon by ISIS terrorists on the other side of the border.

The soldiers returned fire but then came under attack from mortar shells.

At that point, the Israeli Air Force intervened and a drone targeted the four terrorists with a missile while they tried to flee in a truck with a heavy machine gun on top of it.

IDF spokesman Col. Peter Lerner said that “it was a short exchange” and called it “productive,” meaning the four ISIS terrorists were killed.

On Monday morning, the Israeli Air Force again targeted the Jaysh Khaled Ibn al-Walid brigade, named after Muhammad’s top general, Khaled Ibn al-Walid, who lived in the seventh century and died in a battle in Syria.

This time an abandoned U.N. Disengagement Observer Force compound that ISIS used as an operations center was bombed to bits with no fewer than 10 2,200-pound bombs.

“This is an additional response to yesterday’s attack, and it is aimed at preventing the terrorists from returning to the installation which poses a significant threat,” an IDF statement read.

The Israeli army said the former UNDOF compound was the base from which the four terrorists had departed prior to their attack on the Golani patrol.

Analysts and pundits in Israel were quick to point out that the attack by the ISIS branch was not the beginning of a war between Israel and the Islamic State and that the reason for the attack was an internal feudISIS’ crumbling caliphate, a reaction to an Israeli provocation, or even an operational error.

Ha’aretz military affairs analyst Amos Harel went as far as suggesting that the Syrian border area had been quiet and claimed that “militias keep the border quiet and keep the extremist rebels away, above all the Al-Qaida-linked group formerly known as the Nusra Front.”

The reality is somewhat different, however.

The Syrian army, together with Iranian-backed Shiite militias, is working to retake the Kuneitra province while the Islamist rebel groups on the Israeli-Syrian border are increasingly cooperating.

Two weeks ago, Jabhat Fatah al-Sham — formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra, an Islamist rebel group that was affiliated with al-Qaida but decided to go it alone this year — together with other Islamist rebels, launched a massive attack on the Druze village of Khader just across the Israeli border near Magdal Shams on the northern Golan Heights.

Hassan Fagredin, a Druze political activist from Magdal Shams, told Western Journalism that nine Druze fighters and 50 Islamist rebels had died in the battle.

He partly confirmed a NOW Lebanon report of Nov. 14 that said a large battle had taken place between the Syrian army and its allies and a Jabhat Fatah al-Sham-led Islamist coalition that tried to overtake Khader, one of the three Bashar al-Assad strongholds near the Israeli border.

Fagredin, who said he has remained loyal to al-Assad because the Syrian dictator is the only one who guarantees the safety of the Druze minority in Syria, asserted that the Syrian army now has the upper hand in the protracted battle against the Islamist rebel groups in the border area.

The Druze activist suggested the ISIS attack on Israel could have been related to the anger in Syria over Israel’s activities on the Golan Heights, where existing communities will be expanded on a large scale and where plans exist to build new villages.

Fagredin said there have been more battles recently between al-Assad’s army and the rebels in the border area with Israel.

This was also confirmed by foreign journalists at the Kuneitra observation post some 10 miles from Magdal Shams.

The reporters told Western Journalism they had witnessed how the al-Assad alliance had recently attacked rebel positions near the abandoned UNDOF base at Kuneitra.

By using binoculars one could see the bombed-out buildings near the U.N. compound on the Syrian side of the border, they said.

The pro-al-Assad coalition is reportedly also laying siege on rebel-held towns in Kuneitra province while the Islamist rebels frequently fire rockets and mortar shells on government-controlled towns in the region.

In September, the Islamist coalition made another attempt to stop the advances of the pro-al-Assad coalition, but the offensive ended in an abysmal failure, according to Al Masdar News.

The latest spillover of the Syrian civil war into Israel comes a year after the pro-al-Assad coalition launched a major offensive that was expected to have ended in a victory over the Islamist rebels in Kuneitra.

However, the situation on the ground shows that al-Assad might need the sort of offensive that is currently taking place in Aleppo (Halab) to realize his goal on the Golan Heights.

As Western Journalism reported in September, the Islamist groups in the area of the Israeli border are increasingly cooperating, and some of them have sworn allegiance to the Islamic State.

The battles for control over Khader and Kuneitra show the Islamist coalition is far from defeated and could pose a long-term danger to Israel.

The IDF, meanwhile, is preparing for more incidents like the one that occurred Sunday as a massive drill involving Merkava tanks and armored vehicles a few miles from the Kuneitra observation post showed Monday.

Yochanan Visser

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/exclusive-report-on-israeli-syrian-border-islamic-states-west-syrian-branch-attack-on-idf/2016/11/30/

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